Anyone who has hired for technical positions in the last ten years knows just how challenging it is to find great people in a competitive market. Given our ever-growing desire for faster, better and more technology, the war for talent isn’t going to slow any time soon. Employers need to be focused on retaining top IT talent when they land great employees, because rest assured, competitors will be coming after them. Here are five fresh strategies to help keep your tech talent engaged and happily employed.
Focus On Career Development
Employees want to understand just how their role fits into the overarching organizational mission and they also want to see clear paths for advancement. Companies that retain their tech talent are open and transparent when it comes to career development and they provide regular, ongoing, formal feedback as opposed to taking the traditional annual performance review approach.
Regular talks about performance should include discussions about employees’ goals. If a developer has eyes on a senior position for example, managers should clarify the steps the employee needs to take to achieve that goal, visit their progress regularly, and help them develop the skills they need to advance. This ties an employee’s current performance to their goal, helps them picture a future with the company and allows them to see and feel progress, giving them a sense of forward movement and a sense of value to the organization.
Let Your Employees Disengage
Work-life balance is a hot topic in IT circles these days. Tech teams are perpetually overworked, and most have come to expect work interruptions on their days off, which is no way to live. Valuing work-life balance by letting employees disengage prevents excessive stress that leads to burnout and shows that you value your employees’ need for personal time. Set up a solid program for IT employees to back each other up when they take PTO, and discourage employees from “checking in” when they are supposed to be relaxing or recovering from an illness.
Create A Learning Culture
According to a TINYPulse survey, companies with a strong learning culture are 92 percent more likely to innovate, they are more productive and have greater employee engagement than companies without a learning culture.
From the top down, leaders should encourage every employee to learn, grow and develop both on company time and on their own. This can be achieved a number of ways. Cross-training, company-sponsored seminars, offsite trainings, and tuition and certification reimbursement are all ways to promote learning in an organization.
Let Them Innovate
Every member of your IT team has valuable ideas. Whether its new products or new processes, their minds are a valuable resource for the company. Most companies don’t have an outlet that allows tech pros to share, develop or test those ideas and that can lead to feelings of bitterness. Managers should encourage their teams to flesh out their innovative ideas and present them to the group. Give them a few hours each week to focus on their innovations and schedule time to hear their presentations when they’ve got something viable to share. This gives them a creative outlet and it provides the company with a host of potentially revenue-generating or cost-saving innovations that may never have otherwise come to light.
Focus On Engagement
Companies are fighting tooth and nail to attract the best and brightest tech talent and a disengaged employee is very easy to woo. According to Gallup data, nearly 70 percent of the workforce is disengaged, which means employers have to step up their game. Working with tech pros on career development, tying their jobs to the overarching company mission, creating a learning culture and valuing employees work-life balance are critical factors in keeping employees engaged.